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I'm looking for recommendations, ideas and experiences of others on how to integrate a hard of hearing team member into a scrum/standup meeting process.

In this case, I'm asking for my own edification as the one with the hearing loss. I can hear well enough for face to face conversations, but standup meetings just don't work. I can comprehend perhaps 10-15% of what is said, and really don't walk away with much of an understanding about what is being worked on, what people's questions are, etc.

Thoughts?

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I'm also hard of hearing. I just let people know that I'm hard of hearing, and if I can't hear them I tell them and ask them to speak up. I've found most people are quite sympathetic and willing to speak more clearly when you ask them to.

I've occasionally found that noise close to the stand-up area has made it harder to hear, and I've simply moved away from the noise to the other side of the group. You might also ask if there's any chance of having it in a quiet room away from others; that has also made it much easier for me.

I also move so that I can see whoever's speaking. When I can see the person's lips move it sounds more clearly (the way the brain works is just weird).

Lastly, whenever I tell someone that I'm hard of hearing and they say, "Pardon?" I give them the Look Of Death.

  • I sometimes wish I had a big huge fake hearing aid for each ear so people would see it and think, "Oh yea I better speak up!" In our case our standups are in the middle of the floor in a big open room with other teams all around. It's not that it's noisy, but everyone does seem to talk quieter in order to not disturb others. – Tim Holt Oct 12 '11 at 23:04
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There are three things that I believe should be communicated in a standup:

  • What I did
  • What I'm going to do
  • What I need

Every day these are the same three things that meeting attendees need to communicate. If a team member is hard of hearing and really it's not a bad practice regardless: Have your developers type these out ahead of time.

One may argue that this will take time. I argue that these are supposed to be short meetings anyways and by knowing what you're going to say ahead of time, you've already vetted that your information is brief.

Will this work for every group? Like all things Agile, no. In this case, I believe it would be the most effective way to communicate with someone hard of hearing while keeping the process essentially the same.

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    Good points DS. The group already uses a group chat app (HipChat). It often is used to announce the standups even though everyone is in the same room. Given the rather simple nature of the standups (they go fast), they could even be done fully via chat. – Tim Holt Oct 14 '11 at 16:12

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